Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to navigation Skip directly to page options Skip directly to site content

Feasibility Study of Weapons Test Fallout

Report on the Health Consequences to the American Population from Nuclear Weapons Tests Conducted by the United States and Other Nations

Final Report

Public summary on radioactive fallout from global weapons testing.


In 1998, the Senate Appropriations Committee asked the Department of Health and Human Services to conduct an initial assessment of the feasibility and public health implications of a study concerning the health consequences to the American population of radioactive fallout from nuclear weapons testing. This request resulted in a collaborative effort by staff at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Cancer Institute to make crude estimates of doses and health risks from exposure to radioactive fallout from nuclear weapons tests conducted from 1951 through 1962 at the Nevada Test Site and other sites throughout the world.

In 2002, HHS transmitted to the Senate Appropriations Committee a progress report and an extensive two-volume Feasibility Study providing details on the scientific methods and conclusions of this feasibility study. The draft Feasibility Study was also sent to the National Academy of Sciences’ Committee on Assessment of CDC Radiation Studies. A report from that committee issued in February 2003 was peer reviewed by the National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council (NAS/NRC) Committee to Review the CDC-NCI Feasibility Study of the Health Consequences from Nuclear Weapons Tests (NAS/NRC 2003). The recommendations and comments of the NAS/NRC committee were carefully considered. This final report, issued in April 2005, was prepared in consideration of those recommendations. CDC reviewed and addressed the comments received on the draft report, and on January 25, 2006, the Department of Health and Human Services transmitted to Congress the final "Report on the Feasibility of a Study of the Health Consequences to the American Population from Nuclear Weapons Tests Conducted by the United States and Other Nations."

Final Report

Public summary of the final report on radioactive fallout from global weapons testing.

You may download the full Technical Report and Appendices as a zip compressed PDF or in Word format or you may download individual sections of the full report uncompressed as noted below.

Volume 1: Technical Report

Table of Contents

  • Front Matter [PDF - 3,866 KB]
    • Acknowledgment List of Contributors
      List of Figures
      List of Tables
  • Chapter 1: Introduction [PDF - 43 KB]
    • 1.1 Background
      1.2 Scope of work
      1.3 Issues outside the scope of this report
      1.4 Organization of this report
  • Chapter 2: Fallout from Nuclear Weapons [PDF - 142 KB]
    • 2.1 Fallout Production Mechanisms
      2.2 Brief Review of Nuclear Weapons Tests
      12.3 List of Nuclear Weapons Tests
  • Chapter 3: Estimation of Doses from Fallout [PDF - 2,404 KB]
    • 3.1 Introduction
      3.2 NTS Fallout
      3.3 Global Fallout
      3.4 Comparison of NTS and Global Fallout Doses
      3.5 Summary
      3.6 Considerations for Further Research
  • Chapter 4: Potential Health Consequences from Exposure of the United States Population to Radioactive Fallout [PDF - 152 KB]
    • 4.1 Introduction
      4.2 Health Effects of Ionizing Radiation
      4.3 Risk Analysis
      4.4 Conclusions
  • Chapter 5: Communications Approach [PDF - 204 KB]
    • 5.1 Introduction
      5.2 Components of a Proposed Communications Plan
      5.3 Using NCI’s 131I/NTS Communications Project as a Model
      5.4 Audience Profiling and Message Development
      5.5 Developing Working Partnerships
      5.6 Coordinating with Other Programs
      5.7 Implementation
      5.8 Additional Work Outside the Scope of this Report
      5.9 Conclusion
  • Chapter 6: Conclusions and Options for Future Work
    [PDF - 59 KB]
    • 6.1 Introduction
      6.2 Options for Future Work
      6.3 Conclusion

Volume 2: Appendices

Table of Contents

List of Contributors
  • Appendix A: CDC and NCI Responses to Key NAS Recommendations
    [PDF - 54 KB]
    • B.1 The National Cancer Institute Report
      B.2 Estimating Exposures and Thyroid Doses
      B.3 Estimating Risks
      B.4 Subsequent Activities
  • Appendix D: Document Preservation and Retrieval: Current and Potential Future Activities [PDF - 59 KB]
    • D.1 The Need for Original Data
      D.2 Past Research
      D.3 Current Status of Document Preservation
      D.4 Possible Future Actions
  • Appendix G: External Dose Estimates from Global Fallout
    [PDF - 776 KB]
  • Appendix I: Communications Materials [PDF - 844 KB]
    • I.1 Outline for I-131 Communications Plan [PDF - 76 KB]
    • I.2 Workshop Agenda [PDF - 96 KB]
    • I.3 Workshop Summary [PDF - 152 KB]
    • I.4 Report of Key Findings: In-depth Interviews with Experts About I-131 Exposure from the Nevada Test Site [PDF - 84 KB]
    • I.5 Key Focus Group Findings on I-131 Exposure from the Nevada Test Site: Preliminary Findings from Public and Physician Groups
      [PDF - 353 KB]
    • I.6 Tools for Research [PDF - 87 KB]
    • I.7 NCI’s 131I/NTS Communications Campaign and Process Evaluation Plan [PDF - 61 KB]